Meme Dakay shines both as a creative and an executive
By Fiona Patricia S. Escandor
AS heiress to an international seaweed farming business, it’s easy to assume this 26-year-old will follow the footsteps of her dad, the late Benson Dakay, an iconic Cebuano entrepreneur who had been instrumental in that industry. But Mary Ann Rose, also fondly known as Meme, has some other things in mind, as she pursues a new path for herself as accessories designer — a creative undertaking that proves a mindset that is just as innovative.
Presently a scholar in the accessories design program of the Sofa Design Institute in Makati, Meme’s works have been recognized in contests such as the Look of Style Awards and Cebu Young Designers Competition, as well as in a number of fashion editorials some of which published in Lifestyle Asia and Mega. Not to say she has left behind her responsibilities in the family business, as she juggles both dexterously, also standing in as chief operating officer of the Shemberg Group of Companies, while also making sure to squeeze in family time and even a food biz in between.
Mondays to Fridays would find Meme in Shemberg’ office, managing its day-to-day activities. Then come Saturdays and Sundays, she spends it with family, or at the Banilad Town Centre where she sells for fun gulaman drinks at its weekend food market. Evenings, Meme said, are typically when she does design work. “With technology nowadays it’s easier to communicate, so my (craftsman) just sends me photos on the updates of my design,” she shared.
Meme got into accessories design in 2010, when the bib necklaces craze happened, and her sister suggested that she design a version of her own rather than buy it. “I got into (it) because I would have imaginations of color combinations I would like to see but I can’t seem to find them,” she said. “I’m also fond of doing creative projects, so this is one area where I can put my imaginations into reality. I’m very fond of making colors come in harmony, and that I (enjoy) discovering, exploring new materials, and techniques when designing.”
At Sofa, Meme is under the tutelage of famed designer and school founder Amina Aranaz — her first formal training in the trade. In previous competitions she has joined, she has also worked with style savants Doro Barandino and Cary Santiago. “Neil Felipp and Lorelei Delon are also my good friends who push me more to do better in the industry,” she added.
Describing her designs, she said, “My work doesn’t have a specific pattern or it’s never symmetrical. I like to play with shapes and form. It’s not flat — I like to have it in different levels of height to make it more interesting. I’m always drawn to sparkly or dazzling materials. And I’m always drawn to beautiful objects or memories I’ve seen such as the ocean and garden, so that starts as my inspiration, from which I like to capture and translate it into my designs.”
This year, Meme is looking into setting up an online accessory hub with her partner, and expanding her line to pet couture for owners who love to lavish and stylize their furry friends. A dog lover herself, Meme has started off with some design prototypes for their own pets at home, including the one being worn by Boogie in the photo.
Not surprisingly, in her free time, Meme enjoys spending it playing and cuddling with her seven dogs at home. She also loves reading fashion magazines, novels and management books. “I try to do sports or anything active in my weekly activities but it can be very challenging. I also like spending time with my friends during the weekends by simply eating a nice meal and discovering new restaurants,” she said. “If time permits, I also love to bake.”
But of course her love for designing tops the list, and Meme is lucky to have designed such a prolific venture out of what started as a hobby. She said, “I like the thrill of producing beautiful accessories, and it excites me when I’m able to interpret my designs.”
Photos: Junmar Sprite G. Dulosa
Make-up Artist: Carlo Damolo
Hair Stylist: Jerwin Bastatas